Towering vanity cut down to size

World | REUTERS 28 Oct 2021

China has restricted the construction of very tall skyscrapers in smaller cities as part of a crackdown on wasteful vanity projects by local governments.

Unless there is special approval, cities with populations of less than three million must not build taller than 150 meters, and cities with larger populations must not construct buildings higher than 250m.

The measures announced by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development add to an existing ban on buildings of more than 500m.

And authorities who approve projects in violation of the new rule "will be held accountable for life."

China has some of the tallest buildings in the world, including the 632m Shanghai Tower and the 599.1m Ping An Finance Center in Shenzhen.

While Beijing officials acknowledge that high-rise buildings promote more intensive use of land resources, there is increasing concern that local officials are pursuing projects with little attention to their practicality and safety.

Earlier this year a 356m, 71-story tower in downtown Shenzhen shook repeatedly, raising concerns about safety.

Investigators found the cause to be a 50m-plus mast on top of the building that moved in the wind.

It was soon after that scare that a nationwide ban was imposed on the construction of buildings exceeding 500m.

The Shenzhen building reopened in September after the mast was dismantled.

Local governments must also inspect existing super-tall buildings, conducting checks on their foundations and structure, power, water and gas supply, materials used, their resistance to earthquakes, and protection from fire, the ministry said.

Cities must also strictly control the construction of high-rise buildings in ecologically sensitive areas and the effect on urban ventilation corridors.

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